A great introduction to the Cambrian explosion on The Gospel Coalition, of all places!
Here’s one question and answer that emphasizes that the progress of science is making the problem posed by the Cambrian fossils worse for Darwinists.
Have the last century of fossil discoveries resolved or aggravated Darwin’s doubt?
Fossil discoveries since Darwin’s time have only made the Cambrian explosion problem worse for his theory.
Darwin believed that the fossil record was woefully incomplete, and he predicted that the problem of abrupt appearance of animals in the Cambrian would be alleviated by future discoveries.
But the opposite happened. Scientists have combed the Precambrian strata for the alleged precursors to the Cambrian animals, and they haven’t found the direct evolutionary ancestors that Darwinian theory predicts. Instead, they have made new discoveries which confirmed that the Cambrian explosion was real event—and a worldwide one—and that the animal phyla really did appear abruptly.
The first major Cambrian-era fossil discovery after Darwin’s time took place over a hundred years ago now, in 1909, when Charles Doolittle Walcott (then the head of the Smithsonian Institution) discovered the Burgess Shale Cambrian deposit in the Canadian Rockies. This deposit showed many diverse soft and hard-bodied organisms which were preserved in exquisite detail. They all appeared in the Cambrian, with no clear evolutionary ancestors.
The question remained, however, whether the Burgess Shale Cambrian animals were a lucky isolated event, or evidence of a worldwide pattern. Over the next decades, additional discoveries of Cambrian animals were made in other parts of the world, including Russia, Greenland, and Australia.
But the most spectacular find of all took place in 1984, with the discovery of Cambrian fossils in Chengjiang, China. This deposit confirmed that the Cambrian explosion was a worldwide event, with many of the same creatures found in Canada being present in beautiful detail.
So as more and more fossils have been discovered, we’ve found the same pattern over and over around the world: diverse types of animals appear abruptly in the Cambrian, without clear evolutionary precursors. This has accentuated the “dilemma” that Darwin faced.
So the progress of science is making the problem worse for Darwinists. The more discoveries we make, the tougher the problem becomes for them, and the more the effect looks like the result of intelligent action. Kudos to the Gospel Coalition for posting on science, too.
I’ve already ordered my copy of Darwin’s Doubt at the reduced price. Have you? And don’t forget that Dr. Meyer’s first book, the ground-breaking Signature in the Cell, can also be obtained. That was the best book on intelligent design out there, but people who have read Darwin’s Doubt are telling me that it will be far better!